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NIDA Notes Articles: Marijuana

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Why Marijuana Displeases

March 2018
This study demonstrated how THC produces aversive effects in mice and suggests a mechanism to explain why people experience rewarding, aversive, or mixed effects from marijuana.

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THC Hampers Spatial Memory Development in Young Monkeys

September 2015
Adolescent monkeys that were exposed to THC fell progressively further behind THC-free monkeys in their ability to recall the location of an object after a brief delay.

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Study Questions Role for Marijuana in Teen Users’ IQ Decline

August 2016
In a recent study, teens who used marijuana lost IQ points relative to their nonusing peers. However, the drug appeared not to be the culprit.

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Study Links Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to Reduced Mortality From Opioid Overdose

May 2016
Legally protected marijuana dispensaries (LMDs) were associated with lower rates of dependence on prescription opioids, and deaths due to opioid overdose, than would have been expected based on prior trends. However, LMDs also were associated with higher rates of recreational marijuana use and increased potency of illegal marijuana.

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Self-Control Protects Urban Minority Youths From Drug Use and Depressive Mood

July 2014
Interventions that bolster self-control in childhood and early adolescence might shield ethnic and racial minority adolescents and young adults from the burden of both drug use and depressive mood.

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Regular Marijuana Use Is Associated With Differences in Brain Gray Matter and Connectivity

September 2016
A brain imaging study strongly suggests that regular users of marijuana have smaller orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) volumes. Such a deficit could make it more difficult to change counterproductive behaviors, including drug use.

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Marijuana Use May Promote Nicotine Consumption

April 2014
Exposing rats to THC increases the likelihood that the animals will later self-administer nicotine. THC-exposed rats are also willing to work harder to obtain nicotine. When extrapolated to people, the findings suggest that THC’s pharmacological impact on the brain may make a person who uses marijuana more vulnerable to developing nicotine addiction, an underappreciated health consequence of marijuana use.

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Long-Term Marijuana Use Is Associated With Health Problems Later in Life

February 2018
Researchers used the statistical technique of latent class analysis to describe distinct patterns of marijuana use across age using data from nearly 10,000 participants in the Monitoring the Future study. Longer-term marijuana use (extending from age 18 into the late 20s or beyond) was associated with increased risk of self-reported health problems at age 50. En Español

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Intervention Strengthens American Indian Teen Mothers’ Parenting

February 2014
Teen mothers on three American Indian reservations improved on several measures of parenting after participating in Family Spirit, a home-visiting intervention developed with NIDA support. At 12 months postpartum, the women’s children exhibited reduced rates of emotional difficulties predicting later drug abuse and other behavioral problems. Infants at highest risk—those whose mothers had histories of drug abuse—benefited the most.

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In Nationwide Survey, More Students Use Marijuana, Fewer Use Other Drugs

April 2014
Almost one-third (32 percent) of the roughly 42,000 Monitoring the Future survey respondents reported having used marijuana during their lifetime. However, abuse of many other drugs—methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and some prescription medications—declined.

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